by Mike Masnick
Tue, Jun 2nd 2009 9:55am
Eric M writes in to let us know that JD Salinger is suing the author and publisher of a new book that claims to be the sequel to Salinger's famous The Catcher in the Rye. Salinger is claiming that the book infringes on his copyright -- which may be a big challenge. Now this is an area of copyright law where a lot of lawyers disagree, but in general an unauthorized sequel doesn't necessarily infringe copyright. Copyright covers the specific expression, not the idea -- and since a "fan" sequel isn't likely to decrease interest in the original (in fact the opposite is likely to be true), there's unlikely to be a finding of copyright infringement. Of course, the specific details may matter and cases have gone in all different directions on this. There is, for example, the famous lawsuit about the book The Wind Done Gone, which was a retelling of Gone With The Wind from a different perspective. A lower court issued an injunction to block the sale of a book, but eventually it was allowed. There are certainly other potential claims that Salinger could make -- but the article specifically says it's a copyright issue, which seems like a tough sell.
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